Entering the second-half of the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge Sprint Championship season, Porsche customers bring nine cars to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. A total of six of the 500-horsepower Porsche 911 GT3 Rs are entered with three going for overall honors in the GT class – a category expressly for professional drivers – and three in the GTA class for amateur drivers who do not make the primary living driving racecars. Three Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs will be fielded in the GTS class races.
The 911 GT3 R is in its second season as the German brand’s entry in the international GT3 specification classes. In North America this includes Pirelli World Challenge and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (GTD class). Thus far North America’s only Porsche factory driver, Patrick Long of Manhattan Beach, California, has three wins in the GT class in 2017 driving the No. 58 Porsche Consulting Porsche 911 GT3 R. Two of the victories have come in the Sprint Championship and one in the two-driver, 60-minute races of SprintX. His teammate Michael Schein (Glen Cove, New York) has three SprintX Championship wins and three, second-place finishes in the Sprint series. He has been on the podium in every round he’s competed in except Race 2 at Road America where he was caught in an accident in the opening laps driving the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. Both drivers for the Ohio-based Wright Motorsports team are deeply entrenched in the championship battle for Overall and Driver Championships in their respective classes. Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate and 2016 GT Cup Champion Alec Udell (The Woodlands, Texas) comes to Mid-Ohio with the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports prepared by GMG 911 GT3 R having won both GT Cup class races on the 2.4-mile, 15-turn circuit in 2016. He opened his year with two wins in the GTA class at St. Petersburg, Florida before being moved into the all-professional GT class. His teammate, James Sofronas (Villa Park, California) leads the GTA title chase in the No. 14 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Single team entries competing in the car based on the seventh-generation of the iconic 911 are the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing entry of Jon Fogarty (Bend, Oregon) and the No. 77 Calvert Dynamics machine of Preston Calvert (Potomac, Maryland). The veteran Fogarty is searching for his first PWC win with Porsche but showed the speed all knew was coming in the most recent round at Road America before being eliminated in an accident. The “Red Dragon” has been readied for this weekend’s twin 50-minute races at Mid-Ohio where Fogarty will again be a threat for victory. Calvert is making his transition from GT Cup into the Sprint Championship and already has two SprintX wins from 2016 on his resume driving a 911 GT3 R.
The final three Porsche Motorsport-built cars racing at the Lexington, Ohio-area track are Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs. These cars are built to the international GT4-specifications and challenge in the two, 50-minute stand-alone GTS races. Rodrigo Baptista (Spain) has already won in the No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports car while teammate Nate Stacy (Tulsa, Oklahoma) still looks for his first GTS win with Porsche in the No. 14 “Lizard” entry. Adam Merzon (Greenwich, Connecticut) will pilot the No. 017 Case-It Racing Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR in Saturday and Sunday’s races.
The 2017 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR is based on the road-going Cayman GT4 sharing over 80 percent of its mechanical and electrical hardware with the street car. The car is currently eligible not only in the GTS class of PWC but the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge as well as one-make classes in the PCA Club Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East and Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA on the west coast.
Hometown Heroes. Wright Motorsports Looks to Gain on PWC Title at Home Track.
Following a short break in the action, Wright Motorsports is jumping right back into the thick of things for this weekend’s Rounds 5 and 6 of the Pirelli World Challenge Sprint championship. This time the Batavia, Ohio-based team will take on home ground as Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and Michael Schein (Glen Cove, New York) enter their pair of Porsche 911 GT3 Rs at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Located just 150-miles south of Mid-Ohio, Wright Motorsports carries a rich history at their home track. Since founded in 2000, the Batavia Ohio-based squad has collected countless podiums at the road course. This dates back decades for Wright Motorsports principal and Ohio-native, John Wright who ran his first professional event at Mid-Ohio in 1988. The group hopes to extend their line of triumph following this week’s event.
Still fresh off of his victory and second-place at Road America, Long will enter this weekend’s double-header event tied for the overall championship lead with Michael Cooper and carrying a 7-point lead in the GT Sprint championship over Alvaro Parente.
No stranger to the 2.4-mile, 15 turn road-course, Long has three podiums and a Mid-Ohio win to his name. The Porsche factory driver, who was thrown a number of challenges during last season’s event, looks to extend his championship lead and pad his resume with an additional ream of success at the track.
The momentum is particularly high for Schein, as he looks to replicate his GTA victory sweep from 2016. The track remains a special one for the New Yorker who claimed his the first win of his racing career at Mid-Ohio during a 2010 IMSA GT3 Cup race.
After a challenging weekend at Road America, Schein sits fourth in the GTA championship, with a 44-point deficit to James Sofronas (Villa Park, California) who has taken over the lead. He hopes to change that at this weekend’s event.
Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTA field will take the stage for Round 5 at 4:45 pm EST Saturday, July 29, followed by Round 6, which is set for noon EST Sunday, July 30.
John Wright, Team Principal, Wright Motorsports.
“I would love to put Patrick and Mike in the winner’s circle at Mid-Ohio. We are coming off a win for Patrick at Road America and would like to keep up that momentum. We approached 2017 much differently from last year and things are paying off now, but the season is long from over. A good performance at Mid-Ohio would be big for the team. Plus, it’s in our home state. An Ohio-based squad winning at Mid-Ohio would be a thrill.”
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I’m excited to get back on track at Mid-Ohio for Wright Motorsports’ home event. With four races left in the sprint season and an overall championship on the line it’s going to be business as usual, which means we are going to push hard every lap. You always come back stronger after a trying week like we had last season at Mid-Ohio. Since then, we’ve been able to analyze where we were losing time and feel a lot better heading into this week. We don’t have the budgets like some of the other teams to pre-test at most tracks, but I have a lot of confidence in John [Wright] and Bobby [Viglione]. I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Mike Schein, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“After a pretty unfortunate weekend at Road America, I’m really looking forward to Mid-Ohio. It’s Wright Motorsports’ home event and we had a lot of success there last year with two wins in our Porsche 911 GT3 R. It’s a track that I really enjoy and has a lot of rhythm which is nice. I’m pretty far out of the Sprint championship now, so we’re just going to keep pushing for wins and hope we get lucky in the end.
Porsche Entries at Mid-Ohio.
Pirelli World Challenge.
Total Car Count: Nine (9) Porsche Motorsport products will be competing in the Pirelli World Challenge Sprint Championship at Mid-Ohio. Six Porsche 911 GT3 Rs will challenge in the GT races (Rounds 6 and 7) and three Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs will contend for the GT4/GTS honors (Rounds 11 and 12).
GT Class – Three (3) Porsche 911 GT3 R.
No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports/GMG Alec Udell (The Woodlands, Texas)
No. 58 Wright Motorsports Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California)
No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Jon Fogarty (Bend, Oregon)
GTA Class – Three (3) Porsche 911 GT3 R.
No. 14 GMG Racing James Sofronas (Villa Park, California)
No. 16 Wright Motorsports Michael Schein (Glen Cove, New York)
No. 77 Calvert Dynamics Preston Calvert (Potomac, Maryland)
GT4/GTS Class – Three (3) Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.
No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Rodrigo Baptista (Spain)
No. 14 Flying Lizard Motorsports Nate Stacy (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
No. 017 Case-It Racing Adam Merzon (Greenwich, Connecticut)